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Wildlife on the Hillcrest:

 

Wildlife encounters are abundant and all are true treasures of the Hillcrest.

"Video Capture" photos are still photos from 8mm camcorder video, imperfect but treasures none the less....

 

Andrew and first Catfish

"Floating carton" technique

The bass grew, and so did Andrew

Aunt Cathy and her Thanksgiving '05 Bass

Beaver Damage

my poor pine trees

Norbert and Dagget

the "angry beavers"

Wanted: Dead or Alive

Bobcat Hunting

video capture

Bobcat

Main field; Video capture

Floating Fingerlings

The pond is "open" spring 1998

Can you find the owl?

Video capture

Pig Rub

More Pig Rubs

Pig Wallow

seen that big fella? Look under "Hunting".

They're bigger than you thought, eh?

Fall 2013 West Holly Tree

 

 

 

eastern gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteneus cinereoargenteneus)

Photos

Distribution Map

Distribution Map

Characteristics

This species is slightly smaller than the red fox with an average weight of 8 pounds and a total length of 34-40 inches. The fur is grizzled gray above, white to ashy below, and lighter gray to reddish on the neck and sides. It has a long bushy tail with a median black stripe, and a black tip. The breeding season is from January-April with peaks in February. A litter of 2-7 pups are born from March-May in a whelping den which may have grass, leaves or bark as a nesting material. They are primarily nocturnal animals and are most active at dawn and dusk. They are adept climbers, and use trees to escape enemies. Barks, yaps and yips are the frequent vocalizations. Life span in the wild is 1 1/2 to 3 years.

Distribution

They are found in all areas with appropriate habitat in Virginia. This species prefers upland woods, 'pine' and uses riparian habitats and swamps.

Foods

This is an opportunistic consumer. The diet varies with the season, and relative abundance of foods. Animal matter is most important in the winter and spring. Insects and fruit are important in the summer and fall. Cottontails are an important food and they eat more birds than the red fox.

 

 

Life history chapter for Fox, common gray (050050)

Life History

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: This species is slightly smaller than the red fox, and the fur is grizzled gray above, white to ashy below, and lighter gray to reddish on the neck and sides. It has a long bushy tail with a median black stripe, and a black tip. The weight is from 7-13 pounds or more, with an average of about 8 pounds. Virginia adults have a total length from 868-965 mm, tail vertebrae 280-430 mm, and hind foot 130-140 mm *152,57,141,46,121*. REPRODUCTION: This species is monoestrous, and the breeding season is from January-April with peaks in February. The gestation period is uncertain but it is between 51 and 63 days. They have 2 to 7 (average 3-5) blind, nearly hairless young which are born from March-May in a whelping den which may have grass, leaves or bark as nesting material. They are often in dense cover within 1/4 mile of water. They are sexually mature 1 year after birth, and many but not all females breed their first year *281,57,141,46,84*. BEHAVIOR: The eyes of the young open in 10-12 days, and they stay in the den for the 1st month. Both parents bring food and they forage with the parents at first. Family ties begin to weaken in July, but they remain within the parents range until winter. Daily periodicity is primarily nocturnal, crepuscular. The home range varies with many factors, and varied reports are: .13-3.10 sq. km, 75-185 ha. They are 1.6 km wide in the denning season to 8 km wide in the fall. There is some range overlap. The optimum habitat supports 10-15/256 ha. Mobility is greatest the fall or winter. Foraging paths are erratic, and they speed over a short distance to 28 mph. They are an adept climber, and use trees to escape enemies. They make less use of underground burrows than the red fox *281,57,141,46,84*. They will often use the burrows of woodchucks as dens, but they also use hollow trees, rocky crevices, brush piles, and banks. They pounce their prey and use a quick bite-and-toss motion. They forage over an area from 1-5 miles. If the prey is small it is eaten immediately but a rabbit or a squirrel will be taken to a protected site to be eaten. They can run up to 25 mph if they are disturbed. Barks, yaps and yips are the frequent vocalizations. Foxes that do not run when approached should be avoided as they may be rabid *8905*. ORIGIN: This species is native *152*. POPULATION PARAMETERS: This species has high fertility and mortality, one study of natal mortality showed 32%, and another study showed the pup death probability the 1st summer as 0.5, the 1st winter 0.9, and for succeedings years 0.5. Populations are 'annual crops'. Population fluctuations have a positive correlation with wetter, warmer Augusts and late winters. Rabies may be a density dependent control mechanism. Longevity may be approximately 4 years in the wild. They have lived 10 years in captivity *281,57,46,242*. AQUATIC/TERRESTRIAL ASSOCIATIONS: Larger hawks occasionally take pups. Adults may be preyed upon by eagle, bobcat and coyote *281*. They may also be killed by dogs. They are very closely associated with deciduous forests *33*. They are beneficial because they eat insects and a large number of rodents *8905*.